To boldly go...Star Trek tech and what Glowforge could become

This is the ultimate nerd topic. I mentioned in a previous post about David Koenig (part of GF Staph, Dan will get the joke) looking like Walter Koenig (Chekov) of Star Trek fame. I have been having pretty vivid dreams about GF leading to teleporters and/or replicator technology. Over time, I want to share (and learn from your responses) if there is something to these dreams. I want to share the concepts and readings that perhaps primed these dreams. Any lighter Star Trek posts are welcome here as well. Here are the key words (phrases) for you to google to begin this journey, if you are up to it. atom laser, unruh effect, artificial atom, correlated states in Bose Einstein condensates, coherence
Now think, at its basic level, what makes Glowforge unique. Is it the CO2 laser? no
It’s the ability to take data and convert it easily into a 3D (or at least pseudo 3D at this point) physical representation of that data (despite the fact it took much hard work and ingenuity to get there). Let’s get this rolling by sharing the google definition of the first term, atom laser.

An atom laser is a coherent state of propagating atoms. They are created out of a Bose–Einstein condensate of atoms that are output coupled using various techniques. Much like an optical laser, an atom laser is a coherent beam that behaves like a wave.


Do images of solid holograms and holodecks enter your mind? Do advanced cutting and etching capabilities start coming into view? Just wait, it gets much better…

Whoa. I was impressed with a bathleth bottle opener. Ultimate compilation of laser technology and 3D printing: printing your own elements.

The next phrase I’d like you to consider is : artificial atoms. The term artificial atom or programmable matter was coined by Wil McCarthy is his book titled: Hacking Matter. A multimedia free edition is here:

On page 14 he explains that an electron or electrons trapped in the right “quantum well” can form what is called a quantum dot. By changing the properties of the well it is trapped in, as well as the number of electrons it is trapped with, one can create artificial atoms of any element, including some man may never make by any other means. So, it might allow us to probe the properties of things we never can make, but what good does it do for us if these properties or states are trapped in this so called quantum well? Well, these states can be transported to awaiting atoms, say in an atom laser, effectively imprinting their properties on the awaiting atom and any hologram produced from the atom laser. A “periodic table” array of properties can be transferred to a 2D solid array of atoms and stacks of these arrays can form a 3D solid object in an atom laser hologram.
This wiki post relates to this teleportation of states from charge and matter information carriers like the electron, proton, and neutron ( called fermions). Without a source of atoms at the receiving end to be imprinted, one would not have a “solid” object, just a 3D image, since it is the bosons or force carrying particles that contain that information.

"The quantum states of single atoms have been teleported.[1][2][3] An atom consists of several parts: the qubits in the electronic state or electron shells surrounding the atomic nucleus, the qubits in the nucleus itself, and, finally, the electrons, protons and neutrons making up the atom. Physicists have teleported the qubits encoded in the electronic state of atoms; they have not teleported the nuclear state, nor the nucleus itself. It is therefore false to say “an atom has been teleported”. It has not. The quantum state of an atom has. Thus, performing this kind of teleportation requires a stock of atoms at the receiving site, available for having qubits imprinted on them. The importance of teleporting nuclear state is unclear: nuclear state does affect the atom, e.g. in hyperfine splitting, but whether such state would need to be teleported in some futuristic “practical” application is debatable."
This teleportation of states is typically performed via lasers. If we could read the state of the bosons and teleport it somehow, as many physicists think we might now be on the brink of doing, we could teleport solid objects or copy to awaiting atoms to make a replica.
More to come…

Now, what does the Glowforge currently do? It transfers or imprints the electronic ones and zeros of a digital electronic drawing onto our materials on the GF laser bed via a laser.


Of course, constructive criticism is always welcome. Trust me, I am humbled by most things in life, so I can take it. I think some lighter Star Trek humor might be necessary during this intermission…

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Yeah, that’s a mouthful.
Theoretical physics is fascinating. The equation still stands, E=mc2.
Replicators FTW!!

“If you need me, I’ll be on holodeck 2”


You lost me at “Page 14”



…“Now, what does the Glowforge currently do? It
transfers or imprints the electronic ones and zeros of a digital
electronic drawing onto our materials on the GF laser bed via a laser.”

I think that sums the GF and teleportation up nicely, a representation, a pattern if you will, of an item, or atom, is copied to another medium. It’s a modified duplication process, if the scanning of the original “quantum dots” is non-destructive a duplicate will be “made” from the pattern of the first, more cloning than teleportation.

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Personally, I hope the Glowforge is v 0.1 of the star trek replicator, and have said that many times to the team at GF.

So you’re not too far off base.



If you can just get a metal printing 3d printer to under $5K I’ll be satisfied that we have replicators. I’m already pretty tickled with what I can do with polymers (I say this as my Lulzbot chirps to the left of me…).



Seems some of the owners might have felt like this a few days ago. I didn’t though. I knew Dan was getting hit with things, many beyond his control.

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I loved that political cartoon!
Someof those guys are genius.


Yes, indeed!

And much of the creative genius displayed in this forum is quite humbling as well!

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Imagine fixing this ship’s transmission…


Can’t say I ever worked on a walk-in gearbox!
They need that muscle, in heavy seas and that screw comes out of the water, no load and free spinning - then it hits the water again… BAM!

That has probably been engineered around by now, my Navy days were '72 - '75.

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